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Originally called the Nikkei Dow Jones Stock Average (from 1975 to 1985), it is now named for the “Nihon Keizai Shimbun” or Japan Economic Newspaper, commonly known as Nikkei, which sponsors the calculation of the index. The index has been calculated since September 1950, retroactive to May 1949. Among the best-known companies included in the Nikkei index are Canon Inc., Sony Corporation and Toyota Motor Corporation. It is the oldest stock index in Asia.
The Nikkei was established as part of the rebuilding and industrialization of Japan in the aftermath of the Second World War. Constituent stocks are ranked by share price, rather than by market capitalization as is common in most indexes. Valuations are denominated in Japanese yen. The composition of the Nikkei is reviewed every September, and any needed changes take place in October.